Habits of Generosity

1 Corinthians 16:1–11

Posted by Dan Jarms on April 28, 2024
Habits of Generosity
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Cultivate habits of generosity in light of the certain hope of the resurrection.


Foundations of Generosity

  • Stewardship defines
  • Love directs
  • Gospel displays
  • Worship demands

Main idea: Cultivate habits of generosity in light of the certain hope of the resurrection.

  1. Floored by Grace
  2. Inspired by good examples
  3. Renewed Habits
  4. Seek Accountability
  5. Take personal interest
  • Automated Transcription
  • 0:13
    Well, good morning faith Bible Church. It's so good to see you all. We are. rounding the corner we're almost finished with First Corinthians stayed with me for the reading of God's word as you as you do that. Let me just remind you last week, Jared finished off just in a masterful way finished off. Paul's teaching on the resurrection, the return of Christ rapture resurrection. And the next thing that he wants to talk about in closing is money, a collection because people who are headed to face to face reality with Jesus are generous. They have generous habits. So let's see how this connects. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia. So you also are to do on the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up as he may prosper. So that there will be no collecting when I come. When I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also they will accompany me, I will visit you after passing through Macedonia for I intend to pass through Macedonia Philippi. And perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter so that you may help me on my journey wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you. And if the Lord permits, but I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost for a wide door of effective work is open to me. And there are many adversaries. When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord as I am. So Let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me for I am expecting him with the brothers. This is the word of the Lord. God, we thank you and praise you. You are good. And you are gracious. No one is a greater giver than you. You sustain us, you uphold us you provide for us you provide bodies to work and minds to think you provide resources. And this world even in its fallen state still produces an abundance so that we can serve you and we can see your rain extended Thank you for calling us into the service through Christ. Now as we turn our attention to this text, we we are looking at a collection and generosity and habits help us cultivate those. Thank you for how you have worked in many here and continue to work. And I pray that You would help those who have never thought about giving in any systematic way that you would help them experience the joy of generosity. I pray for the churches in our city. We often pray for the preachers and I pray for the eldership and the congregations of Bible preaching churches, that they too would be generous so the gospel would speed forward so that the name of Christ would be exalted as your people. We don't want to be hoarding things for temporary use, we want to be saving for eternal treasure. So help our churches across the city be exemplifying Christ in their generosity. And may that make an impact we know of so many 1000s Just in our in our five minutes circle that need the gospel. And so I would pray that You would help us be a testimony to it. In Christ's name, Amen. You may be seated. So Paul is going to talk to us today about habits of generosity. Habits of generosity is a loving community making disciples of Jesus Christ. Generosity needs to be taught it needs to be modeled and needs to be coached a disciple if you're new with us, that disciple is a learner. So we are all called if, if you know him or not. If you trust him or not, you're being called to be a learner. And if you are already a learner of Jesus, you need to keep learning. And no one sets the pace for generosity like Jesus does. Not only in his heart for the needy, if you look across the storyline of the Gospels as the gospel writers present them he had nothing of his own whatever came into the collection to care for him and the disciples was often readily distributed to the poor, but not only in that his attitude toward the poor but it In his berry life, giving his very life to pay for our sin to trust him. So true Christians, followers of Jesus seek to imitate Him in everything in generosity. And I want to start with a strong commendation to many of you here. Many of you have habits of generosity. And I can't express enough thanks from the elders, for those habits of generosity that allow us to budget allow us to plan. And at the same time, we feel the weight of stewardship, you're giving God's money to the church that comes from you, you worked hard for it, it's still it's, in a sense, your money, God's money, and we want to be careful with it. But thank you for that. There's another set that are consistently serving with time you're a serving church, but in your giving your need based givers. In other words, when a crisis comes you give, might be in your growth group. When the budget lags you give. We're thankful for that. It really helps to meet needs. But you don't yet have habits of generosity. What I mean by habits of generosity, at the end of the month, and at the end of any year, you could take your bank account, or your credit card, and just follow the categories that it provides for you. You could do that. And if you have habits of generosity, it should look like withdrawals, consistently and regularly. That's what it should look like. Some of you are developing generosity, you're just starting with your time. And your service, but you're giving is very sporadic. How do I know that? How do I know that because? Well, we we have to track the giving. I don't know who gives anything, but I get these lists of member numbers, like you're assigned a number, which is really good, because then I don't have to look at anybody who's giving a lot or giving nothing. And I think you're all the same. You're all amazing. So I think all of you, but by the numbers, about a third of you, who are members who've taken a covenant and a pledge to give. haven't ever given a third. Like that's weird. I mean, maybe you're all in junior high. Okay, I get it. Those are all the junior hires that just became members and they have no income. But it seems like one thirds a lot. And I think this is a very exciting opportunity, because you probably never heard somebody say it should show up in your monthly for your weekly like it should be habitual, Paul says, each of you every week. He's each of you, not some of you, anybody what's convenient for each of you every week, so he's going to talk about habits of generosity. To me, that's very exciting. I had the privilege of being a new believer. With the campus pastor discipling me and the basics of Christian life, Bible reading, prayer, evangelism growing and godliness and giving. When we got married, we set a percentage. I was a modestly health and wealth and prosperity, Pentecostal background. If you give God will give back like we're given 10%. And sometimes that really hurt. Like, especially when you're making minimum wage, but God did give back God did provide. So as we come in, I'll walk through this passage to help us understand a fuller understanding of this in a minute, but here are some foundations for this. Here's some foundations from this. And I preached on this before, this is a summary of some things and I'll just go through it quickly to see what all of this is set on. First, stewardship defines our generosity. So I'm 24 verse one says, The earth is the Lord and all it contains you and your bank account are in the all the contains category. It's all God's and we are stewards. That's done by creation and what's done by redemption. The apostle Paul says in first Corinthians 619, you are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God and your boss. Are you you're a sinner, sliding down the slippery slide to eternal destruction in hell and God rescued you. You're now his.

    So as your body, so as your resources, so really when we talk about giving, you're just giving the Lord's money. You're just giving the Lord's back to the Lord for his use. Second love directs love directs stewardship defines love directs, loving God loving our neighbor. Jesus says, These are the two greatest commands when he was asked what are the greatest commandments? For the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, love your neighbor as yourself? In Matthew 2722 37, and 38? What is he immediately follow that with the story of the Good Samaritan. What does loving your neighbor look like seeing somebody who's lying by the road bleeding, picking that person up taking them to the local hotel, paying a doctor and a nurse to take care of him and all the needs immediately showed up in service and generosity. Love is the motivation. So loving God and loving your neighbor will show up in generosity. Third, the Gospel displays it, the Gospel displays it. Who is more generous than God himself? Who is more generous? I think of this reality because we tend to think of if I give, I won't have enough. But let's just let's just set at the outset. Romans 832, He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him, graciously give us all things graciously. We want to be generous. And sometimes the non Christian world is generous because they're image bearers of a generous gracious God. God is giving every moment we think about it's more than a habit for God. You know, routinely, I think of giving to my people, he's constantly giving. He is gracious. And finally, worship demands stewardship defines love directs gospel displays and worship demands it are giving as an offering we call it an offering plate. We could call it a collection plate, that would be fine that collects things, but it's really an offering plate because financial offerings or worship, the apostle Paul, who had numerous financial needs as a missionary was supported by Macedonia, we know it as Philippi. And they sent him an offering to help defray his expenses while he was in prison. And he called it, quote, a fragrant offering his sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. So our worship is an offering worship demands it. And what's God's response to his children's generosity? What's his response? What does God think when you're generous? Second, Corinthians nine seven says God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful giver. It warms the affections of his very being, when we reflect him back. He wants us to experience the joy of giving. Now, as we think about how we're going to apply this and habits of giving Jesus makes a really penetrating statement in Luke 1234, Luke 1234. Jesus says, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also and he's talking about finances? Once you invest in is it going to stay here? Or is it going to, you're going to see it in eternity. Those who are followers of Christ, treasure Christ, they don't treasure money and possessions. So here's the thing. Here's what we need out of that very mature set of people who are habitual givers. We need you to lead the way. We need you to get in lovingly intrusive into people's lives in every week and growth groups we ask for prayer for health. Anybody have prayer requests? Yes I need and my aunt needs and my grandma needs and so and so needs and Oh my this and oh my that and we share all our bad health stories. Let me ask you this what's a greater threat to your soul? Bad, bad health or a stingy heart? Wouldn't When I meet with guys and disciple guys in our group, we've kind of broken it down where are Corbin disciple, some guys, some other guys disciple Simon I disciple Simon, I'm probably the number one thing we want to keep each other accountable for is our walk with the Lord in our moral purity. We don't have any hesitation to talk about moral purity among the men at our church, we want to be pure men, we want to be faithful if we're single faithful to the wife that's to come faithful to God, if we're married, going to be faithful to our wives. And there's a lot of temptation out there. When was the last time every somebody said to you? So how are you experiencing greed this week? You know, brother, what? Are you coveting? I mean, I think of Jesus statement that where your treasure is, there's your heart also. And we need those people who have developed habits to help us at the heart level. Do you have a budget, bro, the debit spending plan, brother. So here's the big idea for us this morning, cultivate habits of generosity in light of the hope of the resurrection. As we turn from chapter 15. And that victory, we want to turn to chapter 16. And the generosity that has very practical habits. Those of you who have Christ honoring giving habits, we need you to set the pace, we need you to talk about it. Although that seems uncomfortable in our era, we're not talking about amounts, we'll see what I mean, we're talking about habits. And some of you might go through this and you're embarrassed about your finance and your habits. Because you know, you waste some money, you know, you have debt that you regret, there's a variety of things, you're going to need to ask people for help. So we get to these habits. And in the end, between you and the Lord, you want to get your credit card statement that you pay off every month, right? I pay it off every month, good stewardship. Or I look at my bank account, my debit account, and I can see the line that went to the various places that I give I go, I want you to be able to see it there for you and for the Lord. As you do that, I think you're going to discover the happiness that generosity brings. So here's five keys to put happiness into practice, they're going to spell the word first. And I picked the word first. Because we have first day of the week. In the Bible, the voluntary giving in the Old Testament was called the first fruits. When your crops came, your money came, you offered either part of the crops or part of the money as your first fruits to signify that it all belongs to God. So we're gonna spell the word first. It's the first thing you think about with your resources, how do I worship with it? How do I be generous with it? So number one, floored by Grace floored by grace. I needed enough fluid worked good. But it's such a good picture seeing the grace of God you fall to your knees and awe and wonder and gratitude. I can't believe what God has done for me. His you could see just this peek again. And what we looked at last week, picking up at verse 54. We've we've heard about Christ's death at the beginning. We've heard about His resurrection, we hear about our future resurrection 50 forces. When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh Death, where is your victory? Oh, Death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Those people who are floored who are awed by the grace of God, in Christ are generous, because they're grateful. Grateful people are generous people, discontent people are stingy people. And if you're going to cross the finish line, or Jesus is going to return and and you're going to show up in front of him one day to give an account for what you've spent. You want. You want the benefit to be in Heaven with Him forever. Jesus gives two characters because many characters but I want to focus on two that Jesus gives both are rich. One is rich and self righteous. One is rich and a sinner.

    These are familiar stories. And what he does is he makes generosity To do a litmus test of saving faith, what does saving faith look like? It looks like the kind of trust in Jesus that immediately has an open hand about resources, who are the to start with the rich young ruler, Matthew 1916 through 22. It's called The Story of the rich young ruler. He's probably by the other gospel writers accounts, a synagogue official, a young, wealthy synagogue officials, a man came up to him saying, Teacher, this is 19 Six, Matthew 1960. Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life? Jesus answers him a little bit farther and 17 If you would enter life, keep the commandments. He said to him, which ones? That's funny which ones? Jesus could just say all of them. Jesus said, he's trying to show what's inside. You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. So several of the 10 commandments plus that summary loving your neighbor as yourself, young man to set said to him, all these I have kept, what do I still lack, knowing that he's still short on his performance? And Jesus said to him, if you would be perfect, Go, sell what you possess, give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come follow me. Jesus doesn't say three of the commands, you shall have no other gods before Me, you shall not make any idols and you shall not covet. Because this command, exposed those. He had another god he had other idols, and he was a covetous man. And Jesus isn't saying here, there are 10 things you can do to get eternal life. He's saying, I'm the treasurer. Will you be willing to give it all up? And take me? Young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. That man was not floored by grace. He did not love God first. And his heart was full of greed and coveting his faith was in his possessions. And that is the heart of stinginess, who I am what I am my status, my future are tied to my possessions. Jesus says, true saving faith is tied to me. Trust me. So friend, do you have that? Do you have a faith in Jesus that He is your only savior? Not your money? Not your resources, not the relationships, not the things in your life? They aren't your treasure? Is Jesus your treasure? Or is your performance your treasure? I mean, you could you could turn around, say, look, I give. I'm making it into heaven. It's not Jesus point. Do you have that I would urge you to think about this because the thing that Jesus puts in front of you to tell what you love is going to be your money. To love me, or do you love your treasure? The second one is another familiar story. It's the story of Zacchaeus. It's in Luke 19, five through 10. Jesus was journeying to Jerusalem. He sees Zacchaeus up in a tree that kisses a tax collector. He is clearly the senator in the situation. But he was so eager to see Jesus he climbs up into a tree. Jesus sees this odd situation. One of the most wealthy men in the region is up in a tree looking for him Jesus looks at up at him and says Zach is Hurry and come down For I must stay at your house today, which was an unusual thing. highly unusual, righteous men rabbis don't go to senators house and Grace them with their presence. That's how the Jews would think of it. He's thinking, Messiah wants to come to my house. This is what it looks like. To take Jesus as Lord and be saved. Messiah wants to come into my life and and enter my life. So Zacchaeus says this So he hurries down he comes down, received him joyfully and Zacchaeus stood This is verse seven, the number seven, and said to the Lord, behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold. What was Zacchaeus his response to the grace of God in Christ to a center man, I want to I want to pay back. fourfold people I stole two and I want to give to the poor. Here's the Here's his response. He says, Today salvation has come to this house since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the last and Zacchaeus knew he was lost. To pee, people who can sing Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, are the people who are slow to be stingy, and are quick to be generous. They are floored by grace. Second, they're inspired by good examples inspired by good examples. You can look around to see the examples of generosity. There are lots of people in church history, you could look to the apostle wanted, the apostle wanted Corinth, to look at Macedonia and to Galatia as examples. So in the turn of the chapters is now concerning the collection for the saints, there's a topic you wrote to me about, I'm answering back, there is a collection for the saints. What is this a historical context, the apostle Paul has already engaged in to giving campaigns or fundraising campaigns, one in Antioch, one in Galatia. Now he is going to initiate one in Macedonia and Greece. And it's to help the poor so the saints in Jerusalem had suffered under severe persecution, financially troubled, and there's a famine already in the area. So they had been sending resources essentially, to the mothership, to the to the chief of the churches, the churches, where everybody else got their blessing because the gospel came out of out of Jerusalem. There was a collection because I directed the churches of Galatia. So you also are to do not only is it a command, but he's saying that they really did it, they really did it. Poor and persecuted saints needed help these churches sought to meet it. Second, Corinthians eight and nine are chapters all about this collection, and all about generosity. And here's what the Apostle wanted to inspire the Corinthians with Second Corinthians eight when he says we want you to know brothers about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia. For a severe mass. When we think of Macedonia, just think of Philippi, the city of Philippi. That was generous in their gospel, they're supportive. Paul and his gospel ministry, they were generous to Paul, in supportive of him in prison. I want you to know about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia for in a severe test of affliction, they're persecuted to their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed and a wealth of generosity on their part, like they were impoverished due to the persecution in their city, but they still were eager to give and they overflowed with generosity. It was their joy to give. Because they had Christ, they had Christ.

    This day, like our day, most churches were made up of working class people, not wealthy people. So this is inspiring. It's inspiring to see the sacrificial giving. What does it mean, when they when they had extreme poverty? In a sense, they'll say they gave beyond their means. They chose to give now and trust God for a month or two later. It's what it looks like. There's an element of future trust with a person who's generous. And of course, the ultimate example is Jesus himself in that same chapter in Second Corinthians eight speaks of this for you know, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, like, what does it mean? Like when you think of you think of Elon Musk, or Jeff Bezos or any other tech titan or Jamie Dimon of the finance Titan, these billionaires? Jesus wasn't a billionaire. Jesus owned all of it. The whole universe. Those men that we think are rich are poppers. They're nothing. They have they just have billions. That's it just little teeny amounts compared to Jesus, though he was rich. yet for your sake, he became poor. Because your sin and my sin was so great, your debt and my debt so large, he gave up the rights to his vast immeasurable resources and took on poor human flesh and a poor human family to become a homeless panelists, naked sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sin. No one can give more than Jesus why so that you by his poverty might become rich, having God himself you know, you don't own it all. But your father does. Imagine sharing that inheritance. He never dies. So you get the inheritance while he lives in heaven. You get him. So friend, if you held on to every penny until your death, what would your money do for you? In eternity? What would it do for you? If you filled your life with every bougie pleasure, I like that new word bougie. Canada like nice lotions, nice shoes bougie pleasures, what would those pleasures do for you on Judgement Day? For some of you aren't trusting Jesus at all, and you're trusting in those things. And I just would say, Turn from trusting your money lusting for money hustling for money, and trust, the one whose gospel is priceless. Trust him

    the greatest inspiration for a life of generosity. Third, reformed habits we need to have reformed habits. So Paul's gonna get really practical turning from the high lofty theology of the death and resurrection of Christ and our resurrection in his return. And he gets very practical about the habits of it. Where people floored by the gospel, we're inspired by good examples. And we have to develop reformed and we need to reform our habits. So he says on the first day of every week, so first day Sunday, in their time in our time, it's when Christians started to make it their habit, Christians have always met on the first day of the week, Jews met on Sabbath Christians meet on Sunday, first day of the week significant because on the first day of the week, Jesus rose from the dead. And when the Bible often uses first and something it's talking about first and the rest, so Jesus was raised on the first day of the week as the first fruits, which meant that he is giving pledge by His resurrection of the greater harvest to say, it's all yours. So we gather on the first day of the week to say yes, this is your day. And all my week is yours. Old Testament concept of giving the first fruits, which Paul talks about in Chapter 15, was I'm giving you from the first of my crops, and all of it belongs to you. Not only my money and my time, all of it. On the first day of the week, Sunday. He says, first day of every week, every week, there's a regularity. There's a there's an offering box. in Corinth, it was something similar to what we would call a thesaurus, meant to Treasury box, and you're familiar with the words thesaurus. Because it's a treasury of words. Like whenever I'm trying to spell an acronym for something I gotta like, I wanted to do odd by grace, but I got floored because I use the thesaurus, right? It's a Treasury Board, there's a treasury box. That was the box of safekeeping, and somebody would come in, and they put a treasury box in Corinth like that in many churches for the relief effort. So you come in and you drop it in the treasury box, that's the as and store it later on. That's what he's talking about. And he's talking about doing this every week. Why every week? Well, one, he doesn't want to go through an arduous job of taking a collection. But also he knows the reality that we all build up savings for key events. For key things that we're looking to get we have a weekly budget or we have a monthly budget, and then we have a savings. And then when the savings gets to a certain amount, you can do something with it. And he knows that the offering is going to be more generous if there is a weekly deposit than waiting for when he arrives and you go so what's left in the savings account. Well, we could take that much and we could put it in his tie. Think about a habit that lets you actually be more generous.

    First day of every week doesn't have to be every week. I wouldn't press it that hard. But I would say, Well, what's your pay period? What's your pay period? Then he says each of you are no, no. To the people, it's most convenient for anybody who feels like it. Anybody whose heart is warmed. He doesn't say that each of you. That can be done in couples naturally done in family units. Each of you is to put something aside and store it up. How much should we give? That's a natural question. He says, as he may prosper, that idea is as the Lord gives increase for your labor or as the Lord provides where the money comes in, you could say it, as is his income, as is her income. So there's a principle of proportionality. Those who make more should give more those who make less give less. It's in proportion. What's the portion? The New Testament doesn't have a number that is specifically states. I always think of 10% is a good starting point. But that's really up to you and the Lord to pray about it between you and the Lord. But I just remember, my Pat, my campus pastor started talking about giving, and he talked about tithing. And I did when I was making money now college student sometimes as making money, sometimes that's just borrowing money. But when I was making money, type 10%. When we first got married, we weren't, we were not making a lot and what we were giving felt like we're not living very well. But here's the thing, the health of wealth and prosperity people and the whole point of that is God's salvation for you is to make you rich, that's health and wealth and prosperity. That's not true. But there are times like in Molokai about giving, or in second Corinthians chapter nine about giving. He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, he who sews much will reap much. Those are biblical principles that God loves to resupply generous people. God loves to resupply generous people. You're generous, that he wants to supply you with righteousness and godliness. Because when you're generous, you're focused on more eternal matters, which will invariably affect your contentment and your soul. So he supplies with righteousness. And then he can entrust you with more resources to give out. I can't think of a time where God didn't meet our needs. And there have been a lot of surprise needs met in our life. I would love to tell you stories of how God provided for us through seminary. So you need to decide it's between you and the Lord. But it should show up on a bank statement, in a regular way, and it should be proportionate to your income.

    And what does Paul say about God's attitude toward this kind of giver? And I want you to hear it again. Second Corinthians nine seven, God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful giver. He's not saying and what I really liked about this passage, he's not saying don't give until you feel cheerful. I'm not cheerful you know, that's an issue of your contentment. Take a portion give regularly let your habitual giving be cheerful.

    I love listening to my Bible to

    final question, what do I give to? What do I give to as we talked about these habits? Three things. Those in need. Those who lead and those who bleed. Those in need those who lead and those who bleed. I borrowed that. It's not mine. What's the greatest need? The planet has to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. What's the greatest thing that Our five minutes circle needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. So the greatest need is really to get gospel speaking people to places where the gospel isn't supporting missionaries, Christian workers, we're going to look at a couple of those in a minute. They're asking for help on the way and they mean financial those in need. Those who have financial distress or difficulty. Secondly, those who lead First Timothy 517, through 18, talks about this idea of double honor, if you have qualified, able and qualified by character qualified by abilities, able leaders and teachers, who are going to give up full time jobs so that they can better care for you spiritually and practically, they'll need support. First Corinthians nine, the apostle Paul says, Remember Jesus principle, that the worker is worthy of his wages, meaning you can make your living as a gospel worker, missionary or pastor, it's okay to be paid for that. You'll need to those who lead and then that's going to apply to the church in general. So the church is going to have building needs, we're all going to need to enjoy various parts of it. And here's the thing about giving to missionaries, giving to leaders and giving to the churches practical needs, you get back, I mean, it comes back to you, it comes back to you at a modestly comfortable chair. It comes back to you, in kids classrooms, for your kids, it comes back to you and the materials that we're able to have, it comes back to you. You're sharing, it becomes a fellowship or a sharing of the blessing. So when you need to improve or expand your building, you're going to need to raise resources for that we all enjoy it. When it's finished, we enjoy the stage now that it's finished, it comes back to us. And how is that for God to see that come back to us in this life, how gracious it is, those who need those who lead and those who bleed. We take that from the story of the Good Samaritan seeing a man hurt and bleeding on the side of the road, those who are in deep suffering, who need financial help. It could be somebody who lost a job, it could be somebody who had an accident, it could be somebody who lost a loved one and needs help, but it's the suffering in this world. How much it's up to you, as he may prosper. But those indeed those who lead and those who bleed one more thing about what do I give thee where do I give is critical. There's a general principle in in Christianity was true in the Old Testament is true in the New Testament, you need to love your family first, that would include your spiritual family. So your first concern is the the needs of the church family so that the church family together can meet other needs. Here's where the principal comes because we also meet people who are not we meet needs of people who are not at the church family, we give generously to people who suffer who aren't Christians. But But listen how the apostle Paul says this in Galatians 610. So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, everyone. Let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are up a household of faith. And Paul is going to talk about that to the Galatian churches for their concern for the saints in Jerusalem. The big household of faith. So you may be generous to Union Gospel Mission, you may be generous to somebody who see who has a dire financial need somebody who's homeless, you might see a need be moved to meet that need. You have a family to take care of first spirit, your personal family or your spiritual family. And then we give out others in really practical way. I said a couple of weeks ago, we have a building campaign because we need to just fix some things up and expand some things. But we need you to give to the budget first. That's the normal knee you got to take care of the family first. We'll expand as we're able we'll take care of needs as we're able but that's that's the idea of taking care of. First things first. Alright, final two things. So we're spelling first. We want to be floored by grace. We want to be inspired. We want to have reformed habits and Paul's very practical about the habits here. Number four, we need to seek accountability and it's good to seek personal accountability. Go ahead ask me brother. asked me sister how my greed and how my coveting is. And I'll always tell you the same thing. I always want more wood. And I always want more tools. And I can think about that all the time. I don't mind some bougie things myself. That's not what I'm really talking about. What I'm talking about is, since it's God's money, you're making sure that the need is genuine. You're making sure whoever's taking the money is responsible for it. Paul expected that, look what he says here. And when I arrive, I will send those this is going to be who's going to go to Jerusalem and take it whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. You know, your people in your church, who are the people that you trust, will take the treasure chest filled with coins and not take some out for themselves as they go? Who do you trust? I'll go to he expected accountability with the money. It's okay for you to expect accountability is this a genuine need? Am I being wise by giving are the people who are caring for the money wise with the money

    it wouldn't hurt if they were like six, four and 250. And we're pretty good with a short sword. There was no wire service for the money. So they go with an entourage probably armed to protect the money. So if it's the Lord's money, you should expect accountability with the Lord's money. There's two parts of this built in to the life of the church. There's a character component that's part of the elder and Deacon qualifications. And First Timothy three. These are trusted people with their money, you can see it in their household. And you can see it and how they manage things in the church. They're not greedy for gain is one of the clear components, clear elder qualifications. But there's a practical component that you see here that these two are going to take, though it says those whom you send, so he's speaking in the plural, it could have been six, who knows? The story goes, that it was such a large offering, that they had to take an entourage a little army to get it there. And he's like, But doesn't that cost money to ensure that the money saved? Yeah, it does. But we want the money to get there. So if you're giving regularly with the Lord's money, you should expect accountability from the church. And that's a practical component. We're always thinking about best practices with financial transparency, best practices as elders and staff. We got some accounting help, did a pre audit for accounting. And they recommended another a number of improvements for best practices. I'm so excited about best practices, I always think of this because if you're an accountant, or you're in finance, or you're in banking of some kind, or if you're the controller for your company, I want you to look at our books, I want you to look at what we spend, I want you to look at the budget, I want you to look at who writes the checks, and I want you to say that is wise and prudent and well serving of the church. That's our goal. And you should expect it wherever you give. Paul wanted the Corinthians to expect accountability. Finally, take interest in people. We start with God's grace, we end where God's grace is going to go with the people gender generosity won't only involve money, but it will involve time and personal attention. I'm going to come back to this passage next week. But I want to point out a couple of things. The apostle is going to come and visit them. Paul was invested in them as people they were to invest in him as a person. He says I will visit you after passing through Macedonia for I intend to pass through Macedonia and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter so that you may help me on my journey wherever I go. So you might raise some financial support for me. I don't want to just see you now just in passing I hope to spend some time with you if the Lord permits. So Paul's sharing his plans for the visit. He wants to invest time in them. He wants to get their help, and he wants their personal engagement. Timothy, verse 10 See that you put him at ease among you for his doing the work of the Lord as I am so let no one to spires him, help him on his way in peace that he may return to me for I'm expecting him with the brothers. Notice there's a deep affection. And the Corinthians did want Paul to stay. And my experience follows Paul's experience. The missionaries we support as a church are much closer to my heart than the missionaries that I know about that other churches support. It's a natural connection where your where your money goes, your heart goes, and you connect. So I tell I tell the missionaries as they go to raise money. It's it's good for you that you raise money from people in our church, as individuals because they'll be personally connected, they'll remember to pray for you more often. They'll be eager to see you and hear from you. And when they come, man, I can't wait to talk. I can't wait to have a meal. I can't wait to hear their presentation. There is a personal interest in them. That makes us even more eager to help. Okay, let's get let's get practical. Just a few few final things. If you're a regular joyful giver who has good habits with your money, take the courageous step of asking people how they're doing in their financial stewardship. You're not asking for their checkbook and the balance. I guess actually, only old people have checkbooks, you're not asking for their bank account statements. You're asking if they are regular faithful, and how they're doing with the normal heart issues of greed, coveting generosity and sacrifice.

    If you're in a group, and you don't have habits of generosity, you might need to ask for help. For instance, you might, you might not have a spending plan. And so giving feels like ah, I don't know what's gonna happen if I start giving regularly. You might have a pile of debt, you may spend way too much on entertainment.

    And if you've never given given regularly, start with a percentage that's a little bit uncomfortable. Just a little bit and wait six months, and see what God will do. See what God will do. We've tested it, and we've found it true. We can't outgive God you can't outgive God, how can you out give the great giver? If he gave his only Son will he not give you all things? Generosity is a matter of obedience. And obedience is a demonstration of faith. Dietrich Bonhoeffer martyr in the World War Two, fighting against Nazi Germany wrote this. Faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it. And faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience. Otherwise, it's just intention. And finally, there's no generosity like the generosity of Jesus. We're going to take the Lord's Supper. And we're going to look again at the generosity of Jesus. Since he owns it all since he bought it all since he redeemed me. We can be generous. Let's pray. Father, thank You for this word that you have given us. I pray that You would help us be faithful givers in Christ's name, Amen.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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